As promised, before we get back to the story, here is my performance evaluation for 2014. My three core themes for 2014 were “Simplicity,” “30 Days and It’s Mine,” and “Just Smile.” Within each of these themes I had goals I wanted to work towards. I also had an Impossible List, a sort of bucket list of all my short term, long term, and outrageous goals.
This was the first year of my life for me to really get into such detail with my goal-setting. There were ups, downs, and lots of experiences to learn from. So let’s get into it.
As it was four months ago, this is still a work in progress. Abstract ideas like simplicity are difficult to quantify into achievable goals. I say simplicity is a work in progress because this ideal is something I’ll be working towards for probably most of my life. I am happy to say though, lots of progression was made in 2014.
A clear mind is a simple mind. Mentally, I have taken many positive steps towards simplicity. I am more aware of what I think. I can control my thoughts and direct my thinking into a more productive flow. I am seeing what influences the flow of thoughts in and out of my mind. And I practically never get angry; at anyone or anything. I can credit this level of mindfulness to one of my morning rituals. Every morning, soon after getting up, I watch or read something thought-provoking or inspiring. Of course not every idea has stuck over the past few years I have done this. But eventually, those ideas became a part of me simply through consistent exposure (Followed by real world implementation of those ideas, of course). If you’re looking for a place to start, try Great Day. For specific motivation/inspiration, I found that by simply doing a YouTube search you can come across some awesome videos. We’re all in this together!
For living simply, I still have a lot of progress to do. I still have much trouble keeping my living space uncluttered. And for a while, having a friend come visit was my only motivation to really clean up. But this year I learned that my biggest problem was that I didn’t know how to let go of things. You would think I would have mastered this by now, since I’ve been living in a Japanese apartment for almost two years. I’m thinking of setting aside a few minutes daily to just organize my home. We’ll see.
30 Days and It’s Mine
Like I said in the last update, in the last third of the year I took on a lot of things. Before I knew it, December had arrived and I was scrambling around in the Christmas rush. I didn’t have the energy to focus on developing a new habit each month. And I was forgetting the ones I previously learned. So in the end of the year, I focused on three things: journaling, editing/writing, and freestyling.
Journaling is probably the only habit besides brushing my teeth which is ingrained into my neural processes. I write an entry every single day, accompanied with a schedule for the day’s activities. This is a space for me to get out any thoughts and focus on the goals for the day. I have to say that this ritual is staying with me.
My editing habit started out extremely well. Up until Christmas, I was 2-3 weeks ahead in scheduling posts on Tales of a Ronin. Then in November, I scored a freelance position writing articles for Gaijin Pot. My gears switched to churning out one article a week. I was found with no time to focus on my personal blog.
This new job is an amazing blessing. But my goal for next year is to figure out a way to balance both. Because once the Enlightenment story is finished, I still want to continue offering all of my wonderful readers new content to indulge in.
Freestyling is sort of a fun well-being goal for me. It’s been a hobby of mine for years now. Like writing, freestyling allows me to focus, de-stress, and release negative energy. I find myself doing this often without realizing it. In the final months of the year I decided to take a bit more structured approach to this activity. Now even if it’s for a minute or so, I freestyle everyday. It’s nowhere near as ingrained into my mental faculties as journaling, and I’m probably horrible at freestyling. But I feel like I have been making progress. The goal is just to have fun with it, but also make it into a habitual practice, since it really does make me feel better.
Stress subsides in the face of a smile. I’m still smiling. That’s all that matters.
Once again I decided not to take a look at this until I began writing this article. And currently looking now…Wow. I’m speechless. By getting my freelance job in November, I accomplished my “Do what I love everyday and get paid for it” goal!! Now I know it’s barely enough money for me to buy groceries every week. But it’s a step in the right direction. Check out the rest of my Impossible List on the About page. I’ve had a change of heart over the last year and will be adding/subtracting a few of the goals on this list.
Let’s bring on 2015!